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Norwich woman's New Zealand earthquake escape

PUBLISHED: 12:51 24 February 2011 | UPDATED: 14:10 24 February 2011

Emily Nudd, who was caught in the Christchurch earthquake.

Emily Nudd, who was caught in the Christchurch earthquake.

Submitted

A Norwich woman has told how a quirk of fate kept her from the epicentre of the New Zealand earthquake.

Emily Nudd had been planning to have lunch in the port town of Lyttelton, just outside Christchurch, and would have been there at the time the powerful 6.3-magnitude quake struck. But she was delayed by half an hour, which meant that instead of being there, she was just entering Christchurch when the 5km deep tremor hit.

The 30-year-old, who is on an extended visit to New Zealand until August but has a home in Trafford Road, Norwich, was with her friend Gemma Richards and was driving back to Christchurch from Kaikoura, two hours north of the city.

Miss Richards was due fly out that evening to come home to London and the pair planned to visit the beach in Sumner, followed by lunch in Lyttelton.

Miss Nudd, a former Hethersett Old Hall and Hewett sixth form pupil, said: “We feel we were very lucky as when we were in Kaikoura, Gemma decided to go crayfishing.

“She was back by 10am, when we were due to check out of our hostel and get on the road but she caught a crayfish and decided to stay and cook it for breakfast.

“This delayed us from leaving for about half an hour, which meant that instead of being in Lyttelton, or on the cliffside roads that lead there, we were just entering Christchurch when it happened and were in time to avoid the central business district or driving anywhere near the epicentre.”

The pair decided to head straight ot the airport to see if Miss Richards’ flight would be operating.

Miss Nudd, whose father Dennis is joint managing director of Woodforde’s brewery, said: “As we drove around roads were at a standstill, traffic lights were out, petrol stations were closed. Loads of people were walking the streets looking in shock.”

Miss Nudd, who grew up in Wreningham and plays for Norwich netball team Oracle Black Panthers, spent six hours in an airport hotel, waiting for the airport to reopen. After finding out the flight was definitely cancelled, the travellers headed two hours south to the home of friend Donna Bartlett, daughter of former Norwich City player Trevor Howard.

Do you know of anyone affected by the earthquake disaster? Call Evening News reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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